Parafu, Local Wisdom of the Mbojo Tribe in Protecting Water Sources

PUBLISHED,- This story comes from Sumbawa Island. In the eastern part of this island, there lived a group of humans who inhabited an area called Dana Mbojo. Some explain that Dana means land, while Mbojo is the local name for the Bima area. There are also those who say that Mbojo’s funds come from the word ‘babuju’ which means high land.

Dou Mbojo or people who live in Dana Mbojo (land/Bima area), are an ethnic group with Austronesian roots who came to Sumbawa Island 2000 years BC. They are part of the Austronesian ProtoMalayan (Malay people) who inhabit the archipelago with physical characteristics that are typically brown-skinned, brown eyes, straight hair, and a snub nose. In the process of their life journey, the Duo Mbojo people inhabit the lowland and coastal areas of the eastern part of Sumbawa Island, especially in areas around the fertile Bima Bay which allows them to make a living through farming, fishing or hunting. Among them there are also those who inhabit the southern coastal areas around Waworada Bay, the western part in the Cempi bay, the eastern part in Sape and Lambu, and the northern coast around Sangiang Island.

The Mbojo tribe has its own way of life. There is a uniqueness in their way of life which is contained in the Parafu tradition. Before the entry of Islam, the Bima people believed that there was strength in their self-appointed leader and was called “ncuhi ro naka”. They believe that there is a power that governs all life in other realms which they call “Parafus”.

Reporting from detikTravel, cultural activist from the Bima community, Alan Malingi, revealed that on the slopes of Mount Lambitu, especially in Kuta Village, Sambori Village and its surroundings, the term Parafu is synonymous with springs. Parafu can be in the form of certain springs that are guarded and cleaned from generation to generation by the descendants of their heirs. But not all springs can become Parafu.

There are other criteria and characteristics that the ancestors considered to make the spring water a parafu. The natural conditions around the parafu are very beautiful. Large trees such as banyan, bamboo, duwet and other trees thrive. The scenery is very different from the hillsides that look arid and the tetumbannya withered.

The people of Dana Mbojo believe that Parafu must be preserved. Trees and plants in the area around Parafu are not allowed to be damaged, let alone cut down. Residents around there are also not allowed to litter around the Parafu area. Residents around Parafu are still obeying all prohibitions until now.

There are at least four Parafu points in Kuta Village, Lambitu District, Bima Regency, West Nusa Tenggara. Parafu points that can still be found in this village are Lanco, Oi Mbou, Ama Sele, and Lombi.

Residents of Sambori Village told that every year Parafu is cleaned and it is the descendants of those who are given the authority to look after it who clean it. Usually, the descendants of Parafu holders invite residents to clean the parafu together in mutual cooperation. Although in the past Parafu was considered mythical, in essence, Dana Mbojo’s ancestors had forbade the destruction of springs so that life in this area would be sustainable.